The Bellows: Stage Management for Smarties by Michael Kruse

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This time on the panel, finally a conversation of the crew/creative members who keep the entire machine together communicating from early days of workshops through the grueling tech-week and then single-handedly corralling all of the artists together to perform the same great show (if you'r luck) over and over again.  Stage managers are experts in communication, project management, social psychology and most have an absolute obsession about what is the best post it note.  And of course us designers could not do what we do with them.

The Bellows is a monthly discussion about the nitty gritty of theatre production and is comprised of Pip Bradford, Rebecca Hooton, Kevin Hutson, Christopher Ross, and Michael Kruse.



Erika Morey

Erika Morey is a Canadian stage manager who was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, but is now based out of Toronto. In the city, she has worked for companies like Theatre Passe Muraille, Factory Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, Modern Times Stage Company, Theatre Gargantua, the Toronto International Film Festival, and Tarragon Theatre. She’s also a veteran of the Ontario summer stock scene, and often finds herself in very glamourous tiny towns such as Gananoque, Kincardine, Collingwood, Orillia, Port Dover, Port Colborne and Port Stanley.

Tara Mohan

Selected Credits: Avenue Q (Lower Ossington Theatre), Chatroom & Citizenship(Toronto Youth Theatre), 7th Annual Showcase (Outside Looking In), Dora’s Pirate Adventure (Lower Ossington Theatre), Unleashed 2014 (George Brown Dance), ASM for Acceleration 2014 (The School of Toronto Dance Theatre), Silent Voices(Dancetheatre David Earle), Project L (Human Body Expression), Arkemy (Gadfly), Toronto Urban Dance Symposium (Gadfly), Camila’s Bones (Maloka Theatre), ASM for Yonge-Dundas Stage (Toronto Pride), 6th Annual Showcase (Outside Looking In), Aforismo (Gadfly), Assistant Stage Manager/Metcalf Foundation Intern for Toronto Dance Theatre’s 2012/2013 Season.
About: Tara is a professional stage manager and is pleased to be working with Hart House Theatre for the first time

#45 Alan Brodie by Michael Kruse

 Alan Brodie, photo by David Cooper

Alan Brodie, photo by David Cooper

Alan Brodie is a lighting and set designer based in Vancouver B.C. I caught up with him during my visit to the Shaw Festival in May of 2017.  We speak about the early 90's in vancouver and the changes that have taken place there over the last 30 years. We continue the story of the Phantom of the Opera tour that is legendary in Canadian theatre history and Alan recounts his rise to the top of design in Canada.


University of British Columbia - Theatre Dept.

Pacific Northwest Music Festival in Terrace BC

Niagara College theatre production (now defunct)

Bonnie Beecher

Banff Centre for the Arts

Adrian Muir

Crystal Pite

Kim Collier

Ian Arnold

Doug Welch built DWD Theatre Design

Vancouver Opera

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Move Ent

Dance Training Program at Banff

National Ballet of Canada

Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle

Plot Point at Netherlands Ballet

Emergence, by Crystal Pite from Alan's Portfolio

Ubu the Musical, from Ubu Roi

Tom Montvilla

Kevin Lamotte

La Tragedie de Carmen, Peter Brook's Carmen

Phantom of the Opera, Canadian tour by Livent

Rob Bosworth

Ruthie Mitchell

Showboat, by Livent

Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat by Livent

Ragtime, by Liveent

Jeff Hyslop

Heidi MacDonald nee Lingeren

Andrew Bridge

Maria Bjornsen

Sunset Boulavard, by Livent

Semaphore colour changers

Strand LP90

Vivian Leone on InOne Podcast

Garth Drabinski

The Last of the Mohicans, the Musical


Artisan Console

SMPTE time code

Full House Theatre collective aka Bard On the Beach

Christopher Gaze

Vancouver Shakespeare Festival, aka Bard on the Beach in Vanier Park

Vancouver Children's Festival

Mara Gottler

Theatre Calgary

The Belfry Theatre

Michael Shamata

The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

The Overcoat, by Morris Panych (not to be confused by the new Morris Panych opera The Overcoat: a Musical Tailoring) Choreographed by Wendy Williams

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Canadian Stage

Red at Canadian Stage

The Company at Studio 58, by Morris Panych

Glynnis Leyshan

Ken MacDonald

Leslie MacMillon

Bob Ashman, director of photography

CBC Radio Orchestra

SARS outbreak and the cultural sector in Canada

The Barbican Centre

The Shaw Festival

Vancouver Opera

Sholem Dolgoy

Michael Whitfield

Harry Frehner

Guy Simard

Rob Thomson

Philip Cygan

The Lady's Not For Burning, directed by Christopher Newton

Detective Story, directed by Neil Munro, designed by Cameron Porteus

Jackson Pollock

Coronation Voyage, design by Ken MacDonald

Sweeney Todd, at the Shaw Festival

Hotel Pecidillo, by Morris Panych

Ah Wilderness, directed by Jo Zeigler

Summer and Smoke, directed by Neil Munro

Oklahoma, at Stratford Festival

Moby Dick and Wanderlust, by Morris Panych

Tear the Curtain by Kim Collier

Max Reimer at the Vancouver Playhouse

Theatre Aquarius

Huron Country Playhouse

Knee-High Theatre Company

Noel Coward's Brief Encounters, based on Brief Encounters Film

La Ronde

Little Mercy's First Murder, by Touchstone Productions in Vancouver

Little Mercy's First Murder, from Alan's Portfolio

Landscapes of the Dead and from Alan's Portfolio

Godspell, directed by Sarah Jean Hosie

Sean Nieuwenhuis, projection designer

A Little Night Music by Patrick Street Productions

Dracula at the Shaw Festival

Sea of Stories, White Rock, BC for Canada 150

2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver Opening Ceremonies

Rob Sondergard and Electric Aura

Cam Davis

Michael Gianfrancesco

ALD Pro and Lightwright

WYSIWYG by CAST Software

Dracula at The Shaw Festival 2017






















The Bellows: Trash vs. Treasure by Michael Kruse

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On this episode of The Bellows our trusty moderator Kevin Hutson talks with Ian Garrett and Ryan Wilson about what do do with that old set or how to build a more sustainable design. This installment of the monthly production panel discussion was recorded at the Wychwood Barns in Toronto on Oct 24 2017.

The Bellows is Pip Bradford, Rebecca Hooton, Kevin Hutson, Christopher Ross, and Michael Kruse.



Ian Garrett

Ian Garrett  is Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University; is director of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, a US think tank on sustainability in arts and culture; and is the resident designer for the Indy Convergence, an arts accelerator in Indianapolis, Toronto, and Haiti. He is a member of the Performance Studies International Performance+Design Working Group and is the Curator for the US for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. He maintains a design practice focused on the integration technology and scenography. He was executive producer for Transmission at the FuturePlay Festival in Edinburgh and Future of Storytelling Festival in New York. Other recent creative interactive projects include Theatre Panik's durational performance, Peep, at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche; Erika Batdorf's Micro-theatre for Burnish at the Theatre Centre and Venice Biennale, the set and energy capture systems for Zata Omm Dance Projects’ Vox:Lumen at the Harbourfront Centre, and the geolocated Silo No. 5 on Maria Island, Tasmania. He has worked on installations such as DTAH Architects’ Ravine Portal and on the lighting team for the Crimson Collective’s Ascension, a 150’ wide, origami-style crane sculpture at the 2010 Coachella Music Festival. He serves on the Board of Directors for Associated Designers of Canada.

Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson is a passionate artist whose talent, collaborative spirit and work ethic have earned him praise from his peers. Currently the head scenic carpenter at Young People’s Theatre (Toronto), he has worked at numerous theatre companies, including Soulpepper Theatre Company (Toronto), fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company (Toronto), Factory Theatre (Toronto) and Globe Theatre (Regina, Sask.). As a freelance production manager/technical director at fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, Wilson worked on four productions: Ching Chong Chinaman (2013), Brown Balls (2011), lady in the red dress (2009) and Banana Boys (2008). Ryan Wilson graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University’s Theatre School in 2007.

#44 Ken MacDonald by Michael Kruse

 Photo by Joy von Tiedemann

Photo by Joy von Tiedemann

Ken MacDonald went from teaching drawing and painting at high school in the 1970's to one of the most sought after theatre artists in Canada today. His artistic and personal partnership with Morris Panych has resulted in some of the most iconic Canadian theatre productions, including the international sensation The Overcoat.  Ken and I spoke in May of 2017 at his home in Toronto.

In the opening rant I reference this interview that appeared on CBC Metro Morning, regarding the civil suit brought against now former artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre Albert Schultz. 

Please support the show at


University of British Columbia, Art Education

Gordon Smith

Sam Black

MUSSOC UBC Musical Theatre Society

Sheila McCarty

Don Shipley

Patty Armstrong and the The Belfry Theatre

Danny Costein

Puttin' On The Ritz, at The Belfry Theatre

Puttin' On the Ritz, at the Shaw Festival

Cameron Porteus

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg by Peter Nichols

Piaf by Pam Gems at The Belfry

Dames at Sea Directed by Glyis Leyshon at The Belfry

Da by Hugh Leonard with Denis Arndt at The Belfry

Private Lives by Noel Coward at The Belfry

Canadian Gothic, American Modern by Joanna Glass at the Belfry Theatre

A Thousand Splendid Suns at ACT in San Francisco, by Khaled Hosseini

The New Play Centre in Vancouver, Artistic Director Pamela Hawthorn

Tamahnous Theatre

Haunted House Hamlet, by Peter Eliot Weisse

Festival TransAmeriques in Montreal

Sleep No More by Punchdrunk

Morris Panych

Last Call, a Post-Apocalyptic Musical

Sue Astley, director

Vancouver East Cultural Centre, The Cultch

CBC Special of The Last Call

The Last Call at The Globe Theatre, with Patrick McManus and Alan Moon, designed by Deeter Shurig

Chris Thomas and Lucy Peacock

David Sereda

Don Williams, producer for CBC

Ukrainian Labour Temple, Thunder Bay - this is most likely the Finnish Labour Temple, but could have been the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg, where Don Williams was based. 

Rene Simard

Adelaide Court Theater, Toronto

Cheap Sentiment, Tamahnous Theatre

Simple Folk, Songs of a Generation (1987)

Babz Chula, a la Mary Travers

John Forrest, bass player

Odessa, Russia

The Berlin Wall, and East Berlin

Wolfgang Kolneder, director (translate from the German)

Key (Floor) Ladies in Russian Hotels

Langara, Studio 58, Pam Johnson, resident designer, Bruce Kennedy, Technical Director, Katherine Shaw, artistic director

Glynis Layshen

Green Thumb Theatre

Ken McKenzie, designer

Eugene Lee, designer of Oklahoma

Michael Eagan  (not interviewed yet :) )

Michael Levine, designer

Christina Podubiak, and Scott McEwean

Amedeus, at Canadian Stage

Parfumerie at Soulpepper

Picture This, by Morris Panych and Brenda Robbins at Soulpepper

Barber of Seville, Quebec City

Gaudi and Frank Gehry

You Never Can Tell, at the Shaw Festival

The Cost of Living, by Morris Panych

Vigil, by Morris Panych with Alan Williams

7 Stories, by Morris Panych

The Overcoat, by Morris Panych

The Waiting Room, by Morris Panych, about Spirit of The West's John Mann

The Banff Centre for the Arts

Urjo Kereda

The Tarragon Theatre

Margaret Barton

Vigil at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo

Vigil at Wyndham's Theatre in London, UK (debuted under title Auntie and Me)

Vigil with Olympia DuKakis at ACT in Los Angeles

Vigil with Brent Carver and Martha Henry

Vigil with Morris Panych and Jenny Phipps

Magrite, dadaism

Peter Anderson

The Barber of Seville, Pacific Opera

This Fabulous Century Series of books

Madness of King George III, at the Shaw Festival

Our Town, directed by Molly Smith at The Shaw Festival

Chopin's Nocturns

The Overcoat, a musical tailoring

Wendy Gorling, choreographer

Kurt Gödel and Shostakovich

Moby Dick with Debussy at The Stratford Festival

The Barbican, London

The Overcoat, on CBC television

Alan Brodie, lighting designer

John Mann and Spirit of the West music videos

Earshot, by Morris Panych, starring Randy Hughson

The Imaginary Invalid, by Moliere

Leslie MacMillan

The fall of the Vancouver Playhouse

Wayne Reierson, propmaster at Shaw

Donna Hrabluk, former propmaster at Shaw

Company, by Theatre 20

The Dishwashers

Trapdoor, by Anika and Brita Johnson

Sovereignty, at The Arena Theatre in Washington

2000, by Joan Macleod

Sweet Charity at the Shaw Festival

OCAD Designer: Shannon Lea Doyle

French Painter Raoul DuFy

The Bellows: Contracts and Fees 2 by Michael Kruse

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Another installment of the Bellows for this episode. This is a compliment to the previous episode on Contracts and Fees we did earlier in 2017. This time with production manager Erin Birkenbergs and producer Sue Balint. This covered areas we did not have a chance in the last episode and I am sure you will learn even more from this discussion. The Bellows was recorded on September 23 2017 at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto. As normal, the panel discussion was moderated by Kevin Hutson and hosted by Christopher Ross.



Erin Birkenbergs

Erin studied theatre at York University, and has spent the past three seasons as Factory Theatre's Production Manager in Toronto. Previous to that she was a Freelance Production Manager and technician for theatre, opera and dance. Selected credits include:  opdog/Underdog, Ruined (Obsidian Theatre); Window on Toronto (Soulpepper); The Story (Theatre Columbus); The Mill Parts 1-4 (Theatrefront); A Synonym for Love (Volcano Theatre); The Test (The Company Theatre); Turn of the Screw (Against the Grain Theatre); Svadba - Wedding (Queen of Puddings Music Theatre); La Calisto (Glenn Gould School of Opera). 

Sue Balint

Sue has been working in arts management for the past decade, acting as producer for Modern Times Stage Company for several seasons, and for Theatrefront’s Dora award-winning play cycle, The Mill (Parts 1-4). She has also worked with visual artist/architect Philip Beesley, and most recently served as producer for SummerWorks’ Progress festival and Aluna/Modern Times’ co-production of Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre). Sue holds degrees in Theatre and Religion (Queen’s University) and Journalism (King’s College).


#43 Rachel Forbes by Michael Kruse

 Rachel Forbes, photo by David Cooper.

Rachel Forbes, photo by David Cooper.

I caught up with Rachel Forbes just before the opening of 1837: The Farmer's Revolt at The Shaw Festival in May of 2017. We discuss choice of going into theatre and the beginnings of what promises to be a long a fruitful career in theatre. 


Ryerson School of Performance (Nee theatre school)


Hooray for Johnny Canuck

Obsidian Theatre Company

Michael Gianfrancesco

Astrid Dora Janson


Weyni Mengesha

Djanet Sears

  1837: The Farmers Revolt, Shaw Festival. LD: Steve Lucas, Director: Philip Akin, Actor: Sharry Flett

 1837: The Farmers Revolt, Shaw Festival. LD: Steve Lucas, Director: Philip Akin, Actor: Sharry Flett

 How Black Mothers Say I Love You, Factory Theatre Dir: Trey Anthony, LD: Steve Lucas, Actor: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah

How Black Mothers Say I Love You, Factory Theatre Dir: Trey Anthony, LD: Steve Lucas, Actor: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah

#42 Peter Hartwell by Michael Kruse

 Peter Hartwell, photo by David Cooper

Peter Hartwell, photo by David Cooper

Peter is a set and costume designer based in Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario. I had the pleasure to speak with him at his home in May of 2017. Peter spent the first 1/2 of his career in the UK, working with the likes of Max Stafford Clark at the Royal Court, and since 1991 has distinguished himself in Canada as one of its leading designers.


Queen's University Drama Program

Fred Euringer

Gavin Semple

Margaret "Percy" Harris, from the Motley Theatre Design School

English National Opera at the Sadler's Wells

Saved by Edward Bond

National Theatre School

The Royal Court Theatre, London and from The Telegraph

George Devine and Tony Richardson

Sophie Harris, of The Motley's

Jocelyn Herbert

The Bristol Old Vic School

Elizabeth Montgomery

Galileo by Berthold Brecht

Michael Gambin

William Gaskel (The Royal Court)

Tony Page

John Dextor

Lindsay Anderson

The Half-Moon Theatre

Hayden Griffon

The Farm at the Royal Court

Camperdown House

Half-Moon Passage, London

Pam Brighten

Guy Sprung talking about the start of the Half-Moon Theatre

York Mystery Cycles

Come Together at the Royal Court

Timeon Alsacker

Phaedra Britanica at the National Theatre, designed by Tanya Moiseivitch

The Cut in Waterloo at the Old Vic

Weapons of Happiness by Howard Brenton Directed by David Hare at the Littleton Theatre

The Berliner Ensemble

T34 Russian Tank

Portable Theatre with Snoo Wilson and Howard Brenton

Joint Stock Theatre Company

The Speakers by Heathcote Williams

Il Campiello by Goldoni at the National Theatre

The Olivier Stage at the National Theatre

Bill Bryden

Tamburlaine and Prince Philip

Simon Relph

The Madras House

A Mad World, My Masters by Barrie Keeffe produced by Joint Stock

Max Stafford Clark

Simon Callow and Gillian Barge

Epsom Downs by Howard Brenton

The Roundhouse Theatre in London

The Riverside Studios and Peter Gill

Paul Thompson

Ralph Koltai

The Glad Hand by Snoo Wilson

Tony Sher and Julie Walters

Roots by Arnold Wesker at the Young Vic

Tim Caroll

Stuart Birge at the Royal Court

Cloud 9 by Joint Stock and Royal Court

Top Girls, Serious Money, by Carol Churchill and Our Country's Good

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists with Harriet Walter

The Iran Hostage Crises

Roman Litchinsky from Canadian diplomatic core

Scenes From an Execution by Howard Barker

Glenda Jackson

Phil Young

Hamstead Theatre Club

Albrecht Seeger

Our Country's Good

Bill Glassco

Miles Potter

MacBeth at (Royal) Winnipeg Theatre Centre

1949 by David French

Jeffery Dallas

Of The Fields Lately By David French with Randy Hughson directed by Bill Glassco

The Ten-Minute Alibi at the Shaw Festival

Murray Morrison

The Old Woman, by Daniil Kharms

Doug Lemcke

Glynis Lehshan

The Devil's Disciple at The Shaw Festival

Waste directed by Neil Munro at the Shaw Festival

Rat and the Skull directed by Max Stafford Clark

Serious Money directed by Max Stafford Clark

Anita Rochon at the Belfry Theatre Alice Monroe Short Stories

Seana McKenna

Jenny Taramani (designer UK)

Tim Caroll

John C. Dinning

Ivan Habel

Michael Eagan

The Foster Festival

Jane Dagg (development at Shaw Festival)

Rod Hilliard



The Bellows: Getting Started in Design by Michael Kruse

This time on our presentation of The Bellows, a topic close to the heart of this podcast, Getting Started in Design. Moderator Christopher Ross speaks with lighting designer Jareth Li, performance designer Shannon Lea Doyle, sound designer and composer Alex Williams, and lighting Designer Michael Kruse (:)) about their best advice on getting becoming a theatrical designer.


Jareth Li

Jareth is a freelance lighting designer based in Toronto. Select lighting designs include: The Glass Menagerie, Casimir and  Carolin (The Howland Company); Sinners’ Lounge (Canada’s  Wonderland); Dusk Dances (Dusk Dances – Sylvie Bouchard);  Crazy For You (Port Hope Festival Theatre); The Trial of Judith  K (Thought for Food Productions); Mourning Dove (Sudbury  Theatre Centre); Dangerous Liaisons (Red One  Collective/Storefront); The Widow (SummerWorks); Disco Pigs  (A Lasting Dose Productions). Jareth is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.

Shannon Lea Doyle

Shannon Lea Doyle is a scenographer and sculptor from Toronto. In the past year Shannon has collaborated with directors Leah Cherniak, Frank Cox-O’Connell, Alessandro Costantini, Mikaela Davies, Sarah Kits, Jeannette Lambermont-Morey, Adam Lazarus, Viktor Lukawski  Gregory Prest, Albert Shultz, Guillermo Verdecchia, and Michael Wheeler. Shannon is currently assistant to the 2016 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art in Toronto, designing The Last Wife at The Belfry in Victoria, B.C. and working on a new sculpture series. She holds a BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD University and is a graduate of the Soulpepper Academy where she worked under the mentorship of Lorenzo Savoini. Find more details on her website at:

Alex Williams

Alex Williams has worked for 12 years on Hollywood features, television series, documentary and indie film productions in both sound and picture editing departments, such as Acts of Imagination, X-Men 3, Scary Movie 4, News for the Church and Mustard Pancakes. Alex holds a B.F.A. In Film/Video from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (Film/Video), studied at Concordia University, The Banff Centre, and under Emmy and Juno-award winning sound mixer, William Butler.

Michael Kruse

Michael is a Toronto based lighting designer and has lit over 125 shows for theatre, dance, opera and corporate events. A graduate of Ryerson Theatre School, Michael was at the Shaw Festival for four seasons, the Blyth Festival for nine seasons, and has worked across the country and abroad.  He has been honored with several Dora nominations in lighting design including Studio 180's The Laramie Project and Theatre Direct's Alphonse, and a Sterling nomination for the hit November Theatre show The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets that toured Canada and made an appearance at the Tarragon Theatre in 2008.  Michael designs have also been seen at the Factory Theater, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre New Brunswick, The Globe Theatre, Regina, Theatre Network, Edmonton, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Carousel Players, and many others.  Michael currently works as an advanced care paramedic for York Region Paramedic Services.